The Peter Principle is a belief that, in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization’s members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability.
If one thing is certain, seven games into Romeo Crennel’s tenure as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s that he’s coaching one position higher than he should be. Prior to Todd Haley’s in-season firing in 2011, Crennel had only been entrusted with Kansas City’s defense. That was a role he was well-suited and well-qualified for. We’ve seen what he’s capable of (or culpable for) as a head coach. His stint in Cleveland yielded just 24 wins in four years.
Results are what matter in the NFL. Clearly the results aren’t there for this football team. When you fail to produce, there will be tough questions. Tough questions that good head coaches can answer. Crennel, on the other hand, has been short on answers. He can’t tell you why this team’s a colossal failure. He doesn’t know why his star runningback carried the ball only five times on Sunday afternoon. He’s not even sure who his quarterback will be despite a short week where the Chiefs face the Chargers on Thursday night.
With two weeks to prepare, the Chiefs were still handled by the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. They fell to their biggest AFC West rival, 26-16, for the sixth consecutive time at Arrowhead Stadium. The loss marked the sixth time Kansas City has trailed their opponent by 17 points in 2012. Being ill-prepared is one of the few things this team has been with any consistency. That falls squarely on the shoulders of the head coach. You’d think a man with 30 years of NFL experience would know a thing or two about preparation. It’s as though he’s unclear about his job responsibilities.
Crennel has struggled with delegating responsibility to his coaching staff, with clock management, with in-game adjustments, and with personnel. That’s just about everything that comes under his purview as the leader of this football team. I’m not sure that he’s shown significant improvement in any area since being named the 12th head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. At 1-6, Crennel’s Chiefs may be the worst team in the NFL. Kansas City is the first team since 1940 not to hold a lead in regulation through seven games.
I don’t know if GM Scott Pioli is worse at identifying starting quarterbacks or at picking good stewards for the “Right 53.” His second head coaching hire came after Crennel flirted with a division title and led the team to a 2-1 finish in 2011. One of those wins came against the undefeated Green Bay Packers. That game may have been the reason Crennel ultimately got the job.
As with all bad relationships, the problems start when you stop doing the things that got you the girl in the first place. Where’s the defense that surrendered an average of just 11 points per game the final three weeks of the 2011 season? Any idea where we might find the opportunistic bunch that produced four turnovers during that stretch? Romeo doesn’t seem to know. This team has had absolutely no momentum since beating the Denver Broncos on New Year’s Day.
Crennel was back in full head scratch mode in the post-game presser. It’s unlikely that a man without the obvious answers, to the simplest questions, will be able stop the bleeding. He’s not even sure how to parse what he’s seeing on the field. Chances are, he also doesn’t know what to say (or do) to motivate his players to go out and win a ballgame in convincing fashion. Crennel swaps out locker-room signage. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, if it’s one idea in a series of ideas. What terrifies me, is the thought that it may have been Crennel’s best idea.
Pioli won’t survive the firing of two head coaches in as many years. Especially not if Crennel’s contract is also terminated mid-season. The Chiefs are headed for historical ineptitude and unless Clark Hunt cleans house, we could be forced to watch this team continue to wilt for another 9 weeks. The next two contests will be nationally-televised. If the team can’t get back on track, perhaps being embarrassed on a national stage will do the trick? We’ll soon know the answer to this question — unlike Romeo Crennel.
Until next time, Addicts!